Gouda is a little village along the R44, just 37 km south of Porterville, at the western entrance to the Nuwekloof Pass that links Tulbagh to Wellington. The highway crosses several streams which are known as “Twenty-four Rivers’.
It is said that Gouda was originally a farm known as La Bonne Esperance, which was owned by three sisters who had emigrated from Gouda in Holland. They later donated the farm to establish a town, on the proviso that the town was named Gouda.
The town does not produce or, in fact, have anything to do with cheese. The only Gouda you will find here is in the local supermarket.
There are others who believe that the name actually originates from the Khoi word meaning ‘antelope’ or ‘honey kloof’. What we do know is that Gouda was once the railhead (terminus) for Porterville, and another branch line fed from Porterville to Hermon.
Gouda’s permanent residents are predominantly farmers, while seasonal workers on the surrounding grape, peach and banana farms, increase the numbers annually.
The Voëlvlei Dam lies about 6 km south of Gouda and plays an important role in the surrounding areas. The Dam was completed in 1952 and is filled during the rainy season by several streams, including the Little Berg River. In summer water is supplied via the Berg River to places as far afield as Cape Town.
Voëlvlei Dam is popular with water sport enthusiasts and is the home of Voëlvlei Yacht Club. It is also popular among Bass fishermen. The stretch of water is roughly 8 km long by 1,5 km wide.